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Tuesday, May 21

Gapers Block

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Andrew Huff / October 8, 2010 9:48 AM

Question suggested by Tracie, who says, "I ask because today it occurred to me that unless the guy in the apartment next to me died and the smell led me to knock on his door, I would have no idea who he is. I wonder if that’s just an apartment thing, whereas people who live in condos/houses are more likely to know the person living next to them?"

I live in a two-flat we bought with another couple, so I know my neighbors really well. And I've gotten to know many of my other neighbors, next door and across the alley. And I'm on nodding and waving terms with the guys who work on cars in a garage a couple doors down.

Katie / October 8, 2010 9:52 AM

I live in a courtyard apartment building in Edgewater of 1BR apts. I know the guy who lives across the hall because he's the building engineer, and I've I introduced myself to some of the people in my part of the building, but I can't remember their names--I do still say hi, though. We're definitely not on having-a-beer-together terms.

Michele / October 8, 2010 11:23 AM

I live a 16 unit condo building in Edgewater/Andersonville area and I get together with a group of my neighbors once a month for dinner and drinks. We have a great time and all get along very well. Very lucky to live a place with great neighbors!

LaShawn Williams / October 8, 2010 11:28 AM

@Michele: You are lucky, indeed.

Mike / October 8, 2010 12:35 PM

I live in a 13-unit condo building in Edgewater and I'm also lucky to have nice neighbors. The girls across the hall have a set of my keys and I have a set of theirs. There's one jerk but luckily he doesn't live in the building and rents out his unit. We're not all pals who hang out, but we all know each other well, and we get along, even with occasional tensions or building politics. We also keep each other informed about crime, building issues, and sign for each others deliveries, pick up mail when someone's away, etc. That's something that's impossible to shop for when looking for a condo. You just have to get lucky ... and if you are, hope it stays that way.

jjj / October 8, 2010 12:45 PM

I have lived in the same highrise condo building for 7 years and I don't know any of my neighbors. I have had conversations with some of them and know a few of their first names, but that's about it.

I try to stay out of the building drama. I got enough of that when I had an office job. The more I keep to myself the less the old ladies who hang out in the lounge on the second floor will gossip about me.

Anon / October 8, 2010 12:51 PM

Very timely question. My wife and I were walking our dogs at about 6:00 this morning, when we were suddenly attacked by our neighbor's pit bull mix (actually, she attacked our dogs, not so much us). Apparently our neighbor had a bit too much to drink last night and just decided to leave the dog outside. I was kicking the dog in the head while she went after one of our dogs (being held in the air by my wife while she ran up the stairs of another building) and I was holding the other in the air by her harness. Meanwhile people were calling 911 because a man and woman were screaming in the street. Later this morning, I had only the second conversation with my neighbor in the few months she has lived here.

Sue / October 8, 2010 1:55 PM

I know everyone on my side of the block, and many across the street.

I will say that having lived in a condo, then a coach house and now a single family home, I've noticed that the number of neighbors I've known/interacted with has been proportional to the amount of space that separated us.

Tight living quarters make for bigger social distances.

Charlie D. / October 8, 2010 2:36 PM

I manage the 20 unit building at Jarvis and the Lake that my wife and I live in. The owner also currently lives here. I have lived in my neighborhood for almost 23 years now and generally know a lot of people. Rogers Park can be rather transient so people do come and go. The average tenant in our building stays 3-4 years which makes for easy friendships.

My wife just thinks it's my personality since she can never remember one tenant from the next or what neighbor I am blabbering about.

Eamon / October 8, 2010 4:46 PM

Our street is all single-family homes and about half of us get together almost every Friday to hang out on some benches we pitched in and bought with block funds. I'll be picking up a growler of Half Acre in a few minutes for tonight's shin-dig, in fact.

fluffy / October 8, 2010 7:40 PM

I'm currently living with a relative, and can't stand the old man across the street. I feel like he watches my every move. He looks like the scarecrow guy from Wizard of Oz. The guy next door is constantly cleaning his super shiny black SUV. I do like the neighborhood cats, though.

paul / October 9, 2010 10:15 AM

We had a neighbor that organized block parties, ran a snow blower down the entire block's sidewalk (and in front of the elderly neighbors' garages), and generally galvanized the block. Most of the other neighbors I met because I was friends with him.

He passed away a few years ago, and the neighborhood tried to keep up his spirit by doing those sort of neighborly things for awhile, but it seems our block has quietly gone back to isolation.

That said, on this street full of single family homes, we probably all feel comfortable knocking on a neighbors door, since we all know each other.

David / October 10, 2010 8:15 PM

Much like Paul, I benefitted from a particularly active neighbor who made sure new residents in the building got to know older residents. That said, of the several dozen units, I really only *know* a handful. The four closest to my unit are highest on that list.

Seth / October 11, 2010 12:04 AM

I moved to Garfield Park in 2001. The three flat I own is on a block of two and three flats. I make an effort to greet everyone I encounter on the street. I know the names of several people and will talk with them casually. I live on the third floor and share a common front stairwell with the second floor. A long term resident (since 1957) on the second floor is like family, my cats even go down and get treats.

mary / October 11, 2010 11:29 AM

i've lived in roscoe village for about a year, there has been quite a bit of moving around with the other people who live here so i doubt i know who is in my building, other than the two girls i just met who live below me (and have for longer than i've been in the building). i'd love to get to know them but feel weird about knocking on peoples doors now.

Kelly / October 11, 2010 11:39 AM

I recently bought a rowhouse in East Garfield Park. One of my favorite things about living here is that I know/talk to most of my neighbors regularly, unlike in my previous apartments in Humboldt, where my waves were returned with glares. Now when we grill we pass meat and corn back and forth over the fence:)

flange / October 11, 2010 1:33 PM

i know the landlord of my three-flat on the andersonville-edgewater border reasonably well, and know the other tenant pretty well, having hung out with her a bit. the folks in the single-family home to our west, i'm on a hi-howya-doin basis with; i don't know anyone in the six-unit condo that's on my building's east side. and the couple across the alley from my back porch and i stare at each other a lot. dunno what's up with that.

PMan / October 11, 2010 4:54 PM

Not much more than a friendly hello. I live in an Edgewater rental; the layout is conducive to interaction with the neighbors directly across the hall, and I have been friendly with the last three, but not so much with the newest one. It's nice to be social with people you don't have to travel to see, so I hope to improve on the situation in the future.

shechemist / October 12, 2010 10:51 AM

I know everyone in our 6 unit building. My husband and I don't get along with the dingbat that lives upstairs, but we get along with everyone else. I say hi and wave to five other people on the block that I see regularly. I shovel the building's walkways in the winter and garden in the summer, I try to say hi to people as they walk by.

If I had a snow blower I would remove snow from my whole block, but that is just cuz I have an unnatural love of clear sidewalks in the winter.

Carlotta / October 12, 2010 11:23 AM

I've lived on the same block in Lakeview (but in two different apartment buildings) for almost 31 years. When I lived in the 4-plus-1 I knew fewer and fewer people over time because of the transience. Nonetheless, I got to know a lot of people living on the block from being out & about and encountering them at the coffeehouses, stores, etc.

It also helped that I was politically active back in the day, knocking on doors for Ron Sable and Harold Washington. Yeah, everybody recognized me!

I moved to a 3 flat across the street three years ago and have gotten to know even more people through my assidious snow shoveling -- I'll even shovel my neighbors' sidewalks and stairs. (We're kindred souls, shechemist!)

In another month or so I'm moving to Oak Park with my boyfriend into a house. That neighborhood is much less dense than Lakeview, it will take more effort to know my neighbors.

roderick / October 12, 2010 5:07 PM

We're in the middle floor of a 3-flat in Ravenswood. Our Vietnamese landlord and his family lives below us. I've had interactions that were not-so-good at best and threatening at worst. Their kids run around shrieking and slamming doors for a few hours a night a few times a week. Fun.

Our neighbors above us, 2 Mexican dudes, have weird hours. They've been cordial most of the time, but this weekend one of them slammed the door in my wife's face when she asked them to turn their music down. Not cool.

In the garden unit there is a Mexican family with a teenage boy and younger girl. My wife has seen the boy vandalizing the outside of our apartment, but he just nods whenever I walk past him.

We park our behind a popular brunch spot and coffee shop, and we're on waving/"hello" terms with the owners of those establishments. They all seem pretty nice.

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